Lower accommodation target for permit holders

The number of permit holders that municipalities are required to provide suitable accommodation for in the first six months of this year will be lowered from 8,000 to 6,000. This was recently announced by Mark Harbers, the Minister for Migration, at the national coordination meeting on migration and integration (Landelijke Regietafel Migratie en Integratie, LRT). The decision was published in the Government Gazette today. The lower target matches the number of residence permits that the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) is expected to issue in the first six months of this year and in the coming period.

The reduction has been made necessary by changes in the composition of the group of new asylum seekers since this past year. In addition, the IND has stepped up its efforts to deal more quickly with asylum applications considered to have little chance of success, such as those made by refugees from safe countries (veiligelanders). As a result, fewer permits were issued in the past months than anticipated, so fewer permit holders require accommodation. No major changes are expected in the coming months. As a consequence, the accommodation target for the latter half of this year will also be to provide suitable accommodation for 6,000 permit holders.

By lowering the target, the Minister for Migration has addressed the concerns of municipalities and supervisory bodies. It allows municipalities to conclude more feasible agreements with housing associations about the required number of homes, while increasing their ability to accommodate others seeking housing. However, if municipalities prove to have provided accommodation to too few permit holders by the end of the target period, the decision gives supervisory bodies the latitude to enforce this more stringently.

Over the course of the year, developments concerning the number of permits issued and the number of accommodations provided will be monitored in order to establish whether the system offers sufficient flexibility. The principal aim remains to quickly provide suitable accommodation to permit holders.